Caribbean Tourism Grows Twice as Much as Global Average

25 November 2019 12:36pm
Caribbean News Digital English Newsroom
Caribbean Tourism Grows Twice as Much as Global Average

Tourism in the Caribbean has made a strong bounce back in the wake of powerful storms that struck the region, with arrival figures more than double the global growth rate this year.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is reporting a regional 9.7 percent increase in arrival figures for the first half of this year when compared to the same period last year.

Addressing the media at a news conference at World Travel Market on November 6, CTO chairman, Dominic Fedee, said the global average was 4.4 percent.

The only other regions registering more than five percent growth were the Middle East (8.1 percent) and Asia and the Pacific (6.2 percent).

Between January and June this year, there were 17.1 million tourist trips to the Caribbean, 1.5 million more than the corresponding period in 2018 a CTO release revealed.

According to the organization, the foundation of this performance was a strong United States market, which grew by 20.2 percent, totaling a first half record of 8.9 million overnight international tourists.

"During the same period, some 2.1 million Canadian tourists stayed in the region, a 2.4 percent rise when compared to the same period last year,” it added.

However, the European market was flat, registering a marginal 0.4 percent increase to 2.9 million trips, with the UK market down by 1.7 percent, mainly due to significant declines in Cuba, which fell by 22 percent, and the Dominican Republic, down by 15.3 percent.

"The strong results recorded in the first half reflect the resilience of individual destinations and demonstrate their ability to skillfully navigate global political and economic concerns, including Brexit and the ongoing trade wars which threaten the stability of the global economy,” CTO said.

It added that several factors supported the gains made so far including increased air capacity between the region and major sources, expansions in the accommodation sector and the positive positioning of the destinations’ brands in the various source markets.

As it relates to cruise, the demand for the Caribbean was so strong in the first six months of 2019, that there was a record 16.7 million cruise visits, 1.3 million more than in the same period of 2018.

The present rate of growth estimated to be 8.1 percent eclipsed that for similar periods in the last four years, the CTO noted.

The countries recording the highest arrival figures were the Dominican Republic (3.6 million), Cuba (2.6 million) and Jamaica (1.4 million), all increases on the corresponding period the previous year. Jamaica’s figures actually represented a 10.9 percent increase, the CTO reported.

And while the first half statistics for the Turks and Caicos Islands were not represented in the report, local figures from 2018 show that the territory is among the destinations leading the resurgence in Caribbean tourism.

The 2018 figures released by the TCI Tourist Board indicate that the destination welcomed and hosted some 1.4 million tourists.

Cruise arrivals accounted for the majority of the visitors, and showed an increase of 23 percent while land-based arrivals grew by six percent.

As reported by the Governor during the Throne Speech on Monday, November 18, the TCI Tourist Board has estimated that based on the performance during the first half of this year, stay-over arrivals will increase by 4 percent during the calendar year.

Meanwhile, the CTO is forecasting an increase of five to seven percent in stayover arrivals and four to five percent in cruise passenger visits for the second half of this year.  It cited various global issues including Brexit and trade wars for the modest projection.

It also noted the fears stemming from extreme weather events while pointing to Hurricane Dorian, a category five storm which caused significant damage to Abaco and Grand Bahama in The Bahamas this year.

Source: Turks & Caicos Weekly News

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